Starting at the right time and at right location always reaps benefits in retail, as shown by Mini Yadav, Founder, Le Marche, the gourmet and exotic food store conceived early in 2005, in Vasant Vihar, New Delhi. In an exclusive conversation, Nakul Yadav, Executive Director, Marche Retail Pvt Ltd, highlights the growth strategy of the food retail store.
Regional Retailer Le Marche How the landscape of gourmet and exotic food retailing has been changing over the years?
There has been change in both the consumers and retailers’ parts as both the parties have evolved. We were at learning phase when we started and our consumers were also in evolving stage. Now, with exposure to global food, increase in travel etc has constituted the demand for gourmet and exotic food in our country.
How has been the response to your Le Marche products till now?
There has been a growing demand of our products, and particularly,gourmet and exotic food retailing has seen 15-20 per cent year-on-year growth in the last couple of years. Consumers these days are more adaptable to newer foods and they are looking for recipes and ingredients they have eaten somewhere overseas, in our store.
Also, the contributing factors like Internet penetration, regular updates on social networking site etc have resulted in this immense demand of gourmet food and fortunately we are placed in Delhi, which is known for its rich delicacies. This is also a supporting factor for us.
What kind of Le Marche products is more popular among the customers?
It is difficult to single out a product as all our products are appreciated by our consumers. However, different types of cheese, olives, mushrooms and our bakery products are more popular. We have ‘live counter’ in one of our stores, where we have two prominent chefs who teach our customers what ingredients go in to prepare a certain recipe etc. This ‘live counter’ is actually benefitting our customers to know about new recipes, exotic food and ingredients.
Exotic food products are often expensive, how do you deal with that?
Our customers are not much affected by the higher cost of the exotic products and we are always cautious about choosing location of our stores. If the products are not relevant to the surrounding people then it would not make sense for us to open a store there.
Who are your target group of consumers?
Our target group of consumers are diplomats, bureaucrats etc. However, now the consumer base has widened including several nuclear families who come to our store and spend couple of hours. Generally, our target consumer is anybody aged between 6-78 years.
How do you manage your inventory and planograms? We have a centralised ERP in place, which handles the whole inventory of Le Marche because handling an assortment of products ranging between 50,000-75,000 SKUs is not possible manually. The centralised inventory uses last-in-first-out and first-in-last out system.
What are your future plans? We have not captured Delhi NCR completely yet, our primary focus would be doing that and then we will decide to expand to other states.